It is often seen that inventors are perplexed with the idea of filing a provisional patent application or a non-provisional one. Interestingly the solution lies in the hands of inventors themselves. Here are a few points that may help you decide which one to file:
1. The stage of your invention plays a crucial role in whether you end up filing a provisional or a non- provisional patent application. If you are in the preliminary stages of finalizing your invention concept, it is better to file a provisional one. Apart from that filing a provisional application gives you an early priority date and an additional 12 months to file a non-provisional application. This time could be utilized to hone your application and invention research .
2. For start ups and sole businesses , filing a provisional application proves to be beneficial when financial resources are limited and the invention or concept is in the nascent stages of development . In this case, the only benefit that a provisional application provide is an early priority date.
3. In case your invention is thorough and well defined, every detail is tested and foremost if the funding is sufficient , one may think of filing a complete specification i.e. a non-provisional application . The filed non-provisional application will be eventually examined by the examiner on payment of requisite fee and if accepted, an inventor may get a patent granted for a span of twenty years in general.
4. There is a misconception amongst inventors that a provisional application will qualify for a patent. This is not true. The fact is that a provisional patent application has a life span of 12 months , within which an inventor is required to file a non provisional patent application disclosing the invention in the best possible manner. The provisional application is not examined by the USPTO. One has to file a regular or a non-provisional application with requisite fee to get their applications examined in order to qualify for the patent.
5. There is an interesting thing to note here. If an inventor files a provisional followed by a non- provisional patent application within 12 months, then in case if a patent is granted on your invention, you will enjoy the patent rights for a span of twenty years from the actual filing date of your non- provisional patent application . Hence filing a provisional gives you an additional year of patent term and the priority date benefit from the provisional application.
6. Some inventors wish to save overall time and cost, hence prefer filing the non-provisional applications directly. However if an inventor directly files the non-provisional application then the term of twenty years will be applicable from the filing date of non-provisional application and the priority date will be the effective filing date of the non-provisional one.
I hope inventors now find it easier to decide which application to go ahead with.
( Note: The article is not intended to give any legal advice to the readers.)
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